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August 13, 2021

EPISODE 31: 7-Figure FBA Sales With No Ads

Sell Rank Win Episode 31: 7 Figure Sales With Zero Amazon Advertising

In This Episode

If you think organic marketing strategies are dead, think again! Willy Lin of The WAH Academy drops by this week to share how he built a 7-figure FBA business with ZERO Amazon sponsored ads.

TRANSCRIPT

Tommy Beringer:

What's up you data-hungry, Amazon sellers? This is your host, Tommy [Beringer] of the Sell Rank Win podcast from MerchantWords, and in this podcast, we give you the answers to your most burning questions, actionable insights that you can take away and implement into your business today. So let's go ahead and dive right into today's episode. What do you say? Let's go.


What's going on everybody? Welcome to the Sell Rank Win podcast from MerchantWords. I'm your host, Tommy Beringer, and my next guest is a very special guest, has always. He has been selling on Amazon since 2012, and is currently a seven-figure Amazon seller himself. He also is the founder of WAH Academy, which has over 2000 students all over the world. Without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to Willy Lin. How are you today, Willy?

Willy Lin:

I'm fine. Thank you, Tommy, for the introduction.

Tommy Beringer:

Absolutely, absolutely. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day and coming on with us over here at the Sell Rank Win podcast. I know you're a very busy guy, so just wanted to... I appreciate your time, just wanted to let you know that.

Willy Lin:

Thank you so much for having me here.

Tommy Beringer:

Absolutely, absolutely. So where are you abouts in the world?

Willy Lin:

Yeah, I'm in Singapore and I'm from Singapore, so I'm here. Yeah.

Tommy Beringer:

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Yeah, no. It's very cool. I like our listeners to know where our guests are in the world, is very cool to understand that and give a different perspective from all over the world, as I do when I like to bring on guests from different parts of the world and give that different perspective. It is always good.


So Willy, if you go in a bit and tell us your story on how you got started selling on Amazon.

Willy Lin:

Right. So, well, I used to be an army Korea soldier in Singapore armed forces. I took a scholarship to actually help me through with Polytechnic here. But unfortunately, I broke bond and I have to serve my contract obligation with the Singapore armed forces for at least about six years. So literally I'm paying a major debt to the Singapore government, because I broke a scholarship. So after which, I served six years and I left armed forces with no qualification, because I broke the scholarship bond in the first place.


And after which I left the forces and I go into insurance, so I am selling insurance, but I got into debts because I love to buy things to impress people that I don't know. So I would use to buy watches like Rolex, IWC, because at a point in time I was doing pretty okay in insurance. But the thing that I got into a six figures that are $300,000 off debt because I buy this car stuff right on credit, on cash advance and all this cost us. So at a point in time, I wanted to survive, because based on the commissions that I have from insurance, it's not enough for me to survive. So I started to sell some stuff, I used to... So I started to actually drop ship on eBay.


So I used to be a eBay drop-shipper in 2012 during the early part 2012. And eventually I realized that, "Hey, when I drop ship the products on eBay, I got the products from Amazon." So I think I was thinking, "Maybe I go onto Amazon and become the supplier to eBay sellers." So after that, I change and I go onto Amazon to become a seller, and they saw success. My friends saw the change in my life. So I used to borrow money from my friend,. I used to tell them the, "Hey, can you actually lend me some money. I'm poor this month. Even though I'm earning like 70,000 a month, but I'm poor. I don't have... And after that, when I started my Amazon journey, start to do private label and all that, then my friends saw the, "Hey, really have some kind of change. He seems to be very humbled down. He's able to manage his money."


They asked me what is my secret, how do I actually change my life around? So I told them that, "Hey, do you know that I paid off my debt, my $300,000 worth of debt in cash to the bank?" So literally I walked to the bank. Yeah. So I walked over to the bank, Citi Bank, [inaudible], and told them that, "Hey, I'd like to pay off my debt in cash." So I took the cash from my Amazon business, and I paid everything off. So my friends know about this. They're like, "Hey, can you teach me on how to sell Amazon? Because I, myself has some kind of financial issues," and all that. So I'm like, "Sure. No problem. I'll teach you."


And from there, my friends started quit their job. They quit their job, and their friends said, "What? You quit your job? How the hell you do that?" Because right now it's like in the middle of financial crunch and all that. So they're like, "Oh, because I start to sell Amazon." They're like "What? You can sell stuff on Amazon?" Because a lot of my friends in Singapore, they don't know that they can sell stuff on Amazon.

Tommy Beringer:

And what year was this?

Willy Lin:
This in 2012. No, sorry 2012, 2013. I think it's early 2013.

Tommy Beringer:

Wow. Super early.

Willy Lin:

Yes, early. And at a poor time, they say that, "Hey, I have a friend who is actually doing this business. Do you want me to contact him to see how to teach you?" And at a point in time, I'm doing like four, five figures only, four or five figures. Because at a point in time, at a start of the business in 2016-ish, I sold off my first brand. To a tune of six figures itself. So that managed to clear the rest of my debts all in total.

Tommy Beringer:

Nice.

Willy Lin:

So, yeah. Yeah. So this how I started the WAH Academy. Sorry, I just wanted to correct myself. So sorry for that. So I started in 2012. I cleared off all my depths in 2016 when exit the brand, and my friend came to find me in 2015. So sorry about that.

Tommy Beringer:

No worries at all. That's very, very cool. Wow. I don't think I've heard a story like this from anybody who started selling on Amazon. That's amazing. And I wanted to know, in Singapore, is it required to enter the military? I think in Israel you have to serve a certain amount of time in the military, is it required in Singapore as well?

Willy Lin:

Yeah. So he's required that you serve the military, right? When you're 18 years old, all able males have to serve.

Tommy Beringer:

Interesting. Interesting. Okay. So yeah, lots of stuff there. So now you're selling on Amazon. You're not just selling on Amazon, you're a seven figure seller on Amazon, and you have your own students over 2000 all over the world, which is very cool. So tell us a bit about your school, WAH Academy and why is spelled W-A-H for everybody out there. So tell us a bit about your school and what do you do? How do you help your students sell on Amazon?

Willy Lin:

Yeah, so our academy, our school, right? We actually coach our students on how to have a massively profitable business on Amazon. At the same time, we do not depend on Amazon for our livelihood. So what do I mean by that is that later I'm going to talk about, we actually use a very interesting strategy. We use that organic strategy to actually sell our products on Amazon. And especially during the fourth quarter of the year when the PPC costs are going to be much higher. And our students, we actually, what we've... Organic discount, organic strategies to actually continue their profits from there. And they got a much wider profit margin from there versus running PPC. So this is how we coach our students at WAH Academy.


WAH Academy is pretty unique right now, because the students have to get on [inaudible] the prospects, those people that want to join WAH Academy, they have to book a strategy call with us to see if they are a good fit for our coaching program. So we don't have a cost, per se. We have a coaching program where we conduct group coaching call every week to see how to help our students to overcome the problems. It's a group call, and of course we have our own Facebook groups and all that.


But the thing is that those students, when they come, those students, when they book a strategy call, if they're interested, we have to interview them. So during the strategy call, we interview them. And unfortunately over here at WAH Academy we actually pick and choose our students. So it's the opposite of what everybody's doing. So over here, our acceptance rate is only 3%.

Tommy Beringer:

Oh, wow.

Willy Lin:

Yeah. So this is how we work with those students. That we think that they are our successful students, so we actually produce a lot of seven figure sellers, six figure sellers per year profit. So this seven figures, six figures, we are talking about profits. So these students are based on selection. So during this strategy call process, we'll interview them, we'll see whether they are a good fit, then we invite them to the program. Yeah.

Tommy Beringer:

Very cool. Very cool. So this organic selling strategy, we spoke about this earlier, or the other week, and it really intrigued me. So if you can explain how in the heck do you get these numbers without using any Amazon sponsored ads?

Willy Lin:

All right. So I've been doing that since, let me see since five years ago. So that's 2017, 2016. So at a point in time, I was pretty frustrated with running PPC, at a point in time, because due to... So whenever my listing got suspended due to unknown reasons, I can't run PPC. Whenever there's PPC issues I can't run... So after that, eventually I was... Just a little backstory. So I was at a part-time many years back, I was start with like 5000 knife, sharpeners. 5000 knife sharpeners that I can't sell that I have no way to sell via PPC. Plus I have no money, really, in a part-time.


So I have this problem, and the thing is that I was wondering how to sell this product. What should I do? Should I run Facebook ads, or what? Because at a point in time it's just a money crunch. So in the end, I go to YouTube and look for those people who uses the knife sharpener. So I look for people who uses them, that means people like chefs, house wives, those people who actually make recipes on YouTube. And I approach them and ask them, "Do you want to actually get a sample of my product? And if you love my product, can you help me tell the whole world on your YouTube channel, and that will greatly help my small family business.

Tommy Beringer:

Awesome. Awesome. So, very smart. So you had 5000 knife sharpeners, and you're like, "What the heck do I do with this?" So you said, "I'm going to reach out to these influencers on YouTube, possibly Instagram, and try to have them tell the world how great my knife sharpener is, obviously if they liked it."

Willy Lin:

Yeah.

Tommy Beringer:

So now, do you have to pay these influencers? How does that work? Is that part of your budget, or how does that work and how does that create sales? If you can go on to that, to let our audience know a bit about that.

Willy Lin:

Sure, sure. So I didn't pay them. So at a point, I don't really have the money to pay them, because when I sent out the knife sharpeners via MCF, multichannel fulfillment, I have to pay the multichannel fulfillment like six bucks. It would cost me $6 to actually set it over, so I don't have additional money to pay them. So for those influencers that request payment, I will skip them. I'll skip them. So I'll work with those influencers that are willing to work with me to help me overcome my problems. But of course, I don't tell them that, "Hey, I got 5000 knife sharpeners." So I got them that, "Hey, I really want to actually value add to you by giving you a sample. And if you think that this can actually value add to your channel, to your content, then you can actually help me to tell the whole world, because right now I'm just a small family business."

So when we actually send one, okay, we have, out of all time, we have like 10 [inaudible] sales. From one shout out on this person's Instagram account. And the time that we send to the influencer, right. She actually helped me to sell 800 units.

Tommy Beringer:

Wow.

Willy Lin:

Pure profit. No discount.

Tommy Beringer:

Nice.

Willy Lin:

Yeah.

Tommy Beringer:

That's how to do it right there. So these influencers, obviously the ones that you have to pay probably have a huge community of followers. So you're going after these nano-influencers, how many followers do they have, and then also how many do you use at a time in order to push traffic over to your Amazon listing? Or I don't know if you push traffic directly to the Amazon listing or to a landing page, but how many... The first question, sorry, going back to that. How many do you use at a time for one product launch?

Willy Lin:

Right. So at a point in time when I first started, I don't know, because I want to sell my 5000 knife sharpeners. So I want to reach out to as many as possible to sell, finish, to sell my 5000 units out. So in [inaudible], I realized that hey, actually, I can have a compilation in regards to this. So first thing first, for nano-influencers for my site is like 500, 800 followers, this kind of range. When I first started, the YouTuber who actually sold 800 of my knife sharpeners in one shout out on her YouTube channel, that YouTube has around 1,200 followers.

Tommy Beringer:

Wow.

Willy Lin:

Subscribers. Yeah. So it's a highly engaged YouTuber. I don't know about that. At a point in time, I just need some sales, maybe between D10 and 800. [inaudible]. I was like, "My goodness." And the conversion, at a point in time, is more than 60%. So when I go into my business report and I click on the details page by a sales, what do you call that? Sorry.

Tommy Beringer:

Attribution?

Willy Lin:

Yeah. Yeah. So I go in and see my traffic, sessions and the unique session percentage.

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah, the unique session. Yeah, there you go.

Willy Lin:

Yeah. So I see my conversion is like 60%.

Tommy Beringer:

Oh, that is craziness.

Willy Lin:

Yeah.

Tommy Beringer:

Wow. And then you want to have that unique session percentage up above... Having it up above like 20 is great. You had that at 60, that's pretty crazy.

Willy Lin:

Sixty, yeah. Because the sessions, they come into my listing is highly, highly targeted. So, yeah. So eventually, I realized that, hey, if I'm looking for profit of $10,000 a month. So I did some kind of formula. So, okay, let's say we take 60% conversion as something that's very targeted, but when you first started out your Amazon business, nobody know about your product. And the first time you're reaching out to influencers and you don't know what to do. Normally, the conversion rate is like 5%, 6%-ish. So let's take 5% as an extreme example. So with $10,000 profit, because just like you mentioned how many nano-influencers should we look for that one product I'm selling?

So if you're aiming for $10,000 profit with $10 profit per unit, you need to sell 1000 units a month. And with 5% conversion, because this is the first time you're looking out for influencers. You're reaching out, you're reaching out email. Your outreach email is, sorry. I don't know whether I can say that in a podcast, but it's crap.

Tommy Beringer:

No worries.

Willy Lin:

Okay. So it's like 5% conclusion.

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah.

Willy Lin:

When you have 5% conversion, how many clicks, how many sessions do you need to have per month in your coming to a listing? You need 20,000 sessions to make the $10,000 of profit. So, if one influencer can give you 10 sessions a day, 10 sessions, 10 low sessions a day for 30 days, that means you have 300 sessions per month, you'll need 67 influencers to make your first $10,000 of profit. And having said that, that means your product conversion is only 5%, five pathetic percent. And the influencer only give you 10 sessions a day, which is...

Tommy Beringer:

Very low. Yeah.

Willy Lin:

Yeah. So, if you can reach like 20% conversion... Okay. Let's talk about conversion. And your influencer is still giving like 10%, that's 10 sessions a day. So if the conversion is higher because influencer marketing normally is minimum leads 20%, then you need 5,000 sessions, and you just need 17 to 20 influencers, solid ones, and you will make your first $10,000 in profit. And consistently after that, because you got to work with this 17 to 20 solid influencers every month with new campaigns, with new contests, and all this kind of stuff.

Tommy Beringer:

Got it. So these 17, roughly 17 influencers, 17 to 20, 25, whatever it is, now, after doing the outreach of finding them, how many do you have to sift through until you find the magic nano-influencers? I'm going to say that I'm going to coin that term now. So you could use it if you want, but the magic nano-influencers. Because, like you said, not all of them are going to give you traffic back to your listing, and maybe their audience isn't as engaged. So how long does it take for you to find those magic 17?

Willy Lin:

Yeah. So at the point in time, it takes me couple weeks, like three. So I work hard on my business when you have like 5,000 knife sharpeners eating into your long-term storage fees. So it's extremely hard every day and for every 20, and at a point in time, it's the first time that I reach out to influencers, that's the first time. And for every 20 influencers, only one reply. Only one reply. Based on my pathetic script out of all time. And nowadays, it's like out of five, two will reply, like 40% conversion.

Tommy Beringer:

And now, to do that at scale, you must have VAs doing this, doing the outreach to these influencers, to the nano-influencers.

Willy Lin:

Yes, correct.

Tommy Beringer:

Okay. Okay. Got it. Got it. Got it. Awesome. Yeah, so I mean, that is... So you guys, don't... You use zero sponsored ads. Just want to get that...

Willy Lin:

Zero.

Tommy Beringer:

Zero sponsored ads.

Willy Lin:

Zero.

Tommy Beringer:

Okay.

Willy Lin:

And what's the best of this is that when you work with nano-influencers, when you work with sometimes, or rather, nowadays like 50%, we work with reporters also. And I remember about two years ago, we got featured on BuzzFeed. Buzzfeed for the Father's Day's gift guide. So those people, they are always looking for what is the top products to actually be featured on their gift guide, a Mother's Day gift guide, this kind of stuff. And a lot of people will actually search for this kind of gift guide during Christmas, or recently we have this 4th of July, right. Gift guide for 4th of July and all this kind of stuff.

So we've got a feature on BuzzFeed two years back that a Father's Day gift guide. So that give us massive sales, I think we sold like 2000 units, one shot. Yeah.

Tommy Beringer:

Nice, nice. And now, what I also want to understand is where do you direct the traffic to from the... How does that look? Is there a link in the description of their YouTube video, on their Instagram page? And then where does that link take them? Is there a buffer to qualify them, a landing page, or does it go directly to the Amazon listing or store?

Willy Lin:

Yeah, so we provide them a bit.ly link, the link shop, and then they can track traffic on the YouTube channel. Whenever they have a new content, then the link would be there. So their viewers, they can go and click on the link itself to go to our Amazon listing direct. Direct. For advanced sellers, you can actually bring them to a landing page where you can collect email, then you can give them maybe 10% off, 5% off, and they can go to your Amazon listing after that to purchase. So for new sellers, or for listeners who are new to this, it's advisable to go direct into Amazon to see the sessions and to actually get sales immediately. So this is what we want to do. We've got sales.

Tommy Beringer:

Awesome. Awesome. Now, can you go into a bit more on the tracking, on how you track the sales from the outside traffic?

Willy Lin:

I'll get my influencers to post my tracking link, bit.ly. B-I-T dot L-Y, on their social media, or any tracking link will do. All right? So YouTube would be on the video description whenever they post my products on the channel, Facebook will be in their post, Instagram and Tik Tok will be in their bio where they have micro-landing page for all their links, including yours. And once they post the tracking links along with the posts that feature my product, I'll see if there's any clicks on the links itself. So what I can do from there is to go to Amazon business report to check if there's any sudden increase in sessions, and if the influencer or content creator is able to generate traffic for you, either the bit.ly link or sessions will have some indication of additional traffic.

So as far as sales part, I prefer to let them use a different discount code. So let's say for example, influencer one will be 11% off. Influencer two would be 12% off, for example. But to prevent any miscommunication, I'll space them out to find out which influencers give me sales. So for week one will be influencer one, and week two will be influencer number two. And I can also pair them up if I be working with them for quite some time so both can be together in one week and have the 11% discount code. So basically, the main thing is that you want to track are there a search of traffic coming into a listing? So if there's no increase in traffic, there will be no sales, because traffic comes first, then sales.

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah. That's very interesting stuff, and I mean, that's... I think the new algorithm now, it weights heavy on sending traffic, outside traffic to the listing as well. So you get rewarded more for that, even more than... Some people are saying the actual internal sponsored ads. So I mean, this strategy is straight gold right here, reaching out to those nano-influencers. And whatever the magic number is, like we said, or what you said was like 17 or so, and then get them over to the listing. And then hopefully that conversion will happen. I mean, you said that conversion rate was above 60%, or something like that. That was insane. But yeah, very cool stuff. Very cool stuff, Willy.

So we're going to go ahead. We'd like to keep these podcasts short and sweet, and you've provided a lot of value for our listeners. But if they want anything more, where can the listeners reach out to you?

Willy Lin:

Yeah. They can add me as friend on Facebook, so you can search for me, Willy Lin WAH Academy, and you'll see a guy with a yellow background, that's me. If not, you'll be on Instagram. You can search for the WAH Academy. We have our own YouTube channel, also. The WAH Academy also, where we talk about influencer marketing. So yeah, these are the three, yeah. Three channels. Yeah.

Tommy Beringer:

Very cool. And I forgot to ask this question, I also always have our guests give our listeners a bit of advice that they can take away and implement either into their business or into their lives. So do you have something that you can tell our listeners that will help?

Willy Lin:

Yeah. So after hearing this story right, that I have, and after hearing like 60% conversion, and you look for X number influencers and all that, it takes time. It's not about sending outreach emails and you expect that they will work with you immediately, because working with influencers is pretty dynamic. You must really know how to work with human beings. It's not just push buttons on PPC and you will bid and discuss stuff. It's not about fixed, up, down, this cost strategies on PPC, right? So on influencer marketing, the major, major tip is to give value to the influencer, to the content creator. And they will give massive value to you, they'll give you what you want.

So in entrepreneurship, we are always talking about giving value to the world. When you give more value, you'll really, really reach your target. You'll really reach your profit. So give value to... You want to sell your products, give value to the content creators that you are going to work with, give value.

Tommy Beringer:

Absolutely. Totally agree. Number one I got out of that, be patient, and then also provide value. Provide value for, like you said, your content creator, and then provide value to your people, your people who you're selling this stuff to. So, I mean, it works always, and then it'll come back to you. But Willy, I want to thank you so much for coming on the podcast with us today and taking the time out of your day to spend with us. And yeah, man, I think this is some really, really good stuff. Our audience is going to love it. Thank you so much.

Willy Lin:

Thank you so much for having me again, [inaudible].

Tommy Beringer:

Absolutely, Willy. Talk to you soon.

Willy Lin:

Talk to you.

Tommy Beringer:

All right. Bye.

All right. Thank you guys so much for listening. And if you got any value out of this podcast at all, please let us know at the place that you listened to it at, whether it be iTunes, Stitcher, whatever it is. Give us some love, give us an awesome review, and let us know maybe some things you want us to talk about on the next podcast. Until next time guys stay awesome and be awesome.

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